When Is the Right (and Wrong) Time to Run Google Ads? – Michael “Buzz” Buzinski
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As marketers, it’s always in our best interest to ensure that our sales funnels and customer journey’s are dialed in when it comes to paid ads, before you start tossing money at them. Dubbed a “visionary marketer” by the American Marketing Association, Michael “Buzz” Buzinski of Buzzworthy Integrated Marketing is here to tell us how we can get more bang for our precious bucks by simplifying and optimizing Google ad campaigns.
Rich: My guest today is a lifelong entrepreneur, digital marketing thought leader, author, and CEO of Buzzworthy Integrated Marketing. Dubbed a ‘visionary marketer’ by the American Marketing Association, his sole mission is to help entrepreneurs avoid the time drain and frustration of managing profitable digital marketing campaigns.
He has simplified digital marketing success with the “Rule of 26’ and is on a mission to double the website revenue of service-based businesses across America. Today, we’re going to be diving into when is the right time to dive into Google ads with Michael “Buzz” Buzinski. Buzz, welcome to the show.
Buzz: Thanks, Rich. How are you doing today?
Rich: I’m doing great. I’m looking forward to this conversation. So search engines send a lot of qualified traffic to our websites. So, when does the quote unquote – I’m doing air quotes for those of you listening to the podcast – when is the “right time” to use Google ads? Or maybe I should ask, is there a wrong time to use Google ads?
Buzz: There are actually some wrong times to do Google ads. In my opinion, I feel that if you don’t have your message dialed in and your sales funnel or how your customer journey is created, and basically your architecture is not down packed, it is not time to spend money to get people to your website. Because if it’s not ready to take on and convert those visitors into qualified visitors, I should say into potential customers, then you’re wasting money.
So I always tell people, make sure your website is functional first, then throw money at it. In the meantime, you can always use SEO and utilize your networking and social media and all those other things to drive traffic to your website to test it. But until you’re ready to seriously put forth the effort to really track what’s getting people to the website and analyzing that pool of people to make sure that they’re the right people for one.
And two, that they have the best chances of converting, you want to stay away from those paid ads. Because once you’ve paid for those ads and those people will click through and they have bounced, and you don’t have anything else to do for them. That’s wasted money. So that I would say that that’s your biggest hurdle is just making sure you’re ready to push.
Rich: I’m so glad to hear you say that because I was just talking to a person today and they were looking at Google ads and Facebook ads, but they also wanted to kind of fix their autoresponder threads on their emails and their website wasn’t really up to snuff. And they said, “Where should I start? Should we start with ads?” And I said, well let’s fix that customer journey before you do anything else. So I’m glad I got that one right. And continue, because I feel like I interrupted you.
Buzz: If you put it into the context of a car. If you’re racing cars and you have nitrous, right? Google ads is nitrous. It is traffic. Now, it’s what I always say to people. So it’s like you have organic traffic, which is a long play. And then you have traffic, which is immediate. And so, if your chassis isn’t ready to take on that speed and convert that into movement without crashing, you’re going to waste all of that nitrous. And you’re going to wreck, you’re going to crash at the end of that because you’re going to be out of money with no new clients.
Rich: I feel like you’ve been bugging my zoom, because I literally said it’s like The Fast and the Furious, and you don’t want to hit the nitrous. So anyways, that’s awesome. All right. So when do we know that it’s a right time? Is it as simple as, okay, all of a sudden, we see that we’re starting to get conversions, email signups, whatever it is that we want to do, and now is the time to turn on the Google ads?
Buzz: One more step. Can you handle the inbound traffic that is going to result in those conversions? A lot of people forget that you’re taking calls as bandwidth within your company. And if you’re not ready to take on an influx of traffic, you’re going to bleed perfectly good clients, and you’re giving them a bad taste in their mouth for your brand. And that’s bad. Right? You don’t want to turn people off with a great website and then horrible customer service in the back, because it takes you a day, two days, three days to get back to them. So making sure you’re oiled on all gears, all the grease.
Rich: So then how does… you kind of teased a little bit on the organic SEO. So how does organic SEO fit into this bigger plan?
Buzz: So I was saying earlier, you have the gas, the paid ads are your now, right? So if you launch a good ad campaign, whether it be Google ads or say Facebook ads or social media ads, that’s fine. That’s traffic now. You’re looking within days of you starting your campaign to start seeing those inquiries come through your website or purchases if you’re an e-commerce. SEO is your long. And I always tell my clients is that we want to play that long plate as early as possible because it takes a long time to get the returns on that.
So if we wait to do a, to implement the long plate, you’re just pushing off the fruits of that. Those labors. It’s like planting a tree. If you want a big tree in your front yard. Basically, unless you’re transplanting a tree, you have to plant that seedling 15 years before it’s going to be that big tree.
Now it doesn’t take 15 years for SEO, but it does take six to 12 months to really see, start seeing that organic traffic coming in. Another thing I like about SEO along with Google ad-words is that it gives you a visibility in multiple places within the search engine results page or what a lot of people call.
So if they see your name appear, but there maybe they’re just not people who click on ads, and maybe they’re in a research mode, right. They’re not quite ready to buy. So now they’re coming down and they may get passed the maps because they’re not really ready to call anybody and they’re down in that organic area right there. And they see your name again. Now they’ve seen you three times. You’re probably going to be top of mind awareness and they don’t even think about it. It’s subconscious. Like I’ve already seen this name. It’s familiar. We click on things that are familiar. So it really can play in all of the parts, but you have to start early.
Rich: When you’re working with clients to develop an SEO and paid ads campaign, how much overlap is there in terms of strategy, in terms of keywords, in terms of the words you’re using on the webpage, versus the words you’re using in the ad? Is it completely the same, or is there a difference because maybe there is a different approach to it?
Buzz: Well, there’s a couple of things to take in consideration. So, the keywords that you’re using are probably going to be very, very similar. I’m going to be looking at more action words and resolution work. And my ads, because people are looking for answers now, they’re looking for a particular product or particular tool or a particular solution now, right? Or in my SEO, I might be more into the research of symptoms of concepts of maybe I’m looking at YouTube videos to get an idea of what it would take to do something on my own versus hire somebody out. All of this kind of take into consideration.
But I always find that you’re going to put all of those keywords in your SEO, then you might target more of your lower funnel or closer to conversion keywords in your ads, so that you’re not bleeding ad spend on top of funnel traffic. Unless you have a great lead gen process that takes you to the top of the funnel and then helps them through the customer journey to that conversion, and you’re willing to do that over the long period of time. So, you might pay for that click today, but maybe your sales cycle is 90 days and you’re willing to say, “I’m going to invest today on this top of funnel person, and I’m going to nurture them into conversion 60-90 days.”
Rich: So, you mentioned the maps. Where does local SEO fit into this grand scheme?
Buzz: The grand scheme of local SEO or for local centric businesses. So, people usually are going to be service based, say like plumbers and lawyers and doctors and whatnot, that deal with just the local area clients, right. They’re going to get the most out of those.
If you have a non-geographically specific business, say you’re an online business or a company like mine, where yeah, we have an office, but we serve clients all across the United States because we’re virtual agency. And so that allows us to serve anybody anywhere.
But if you’re a doctor, you have to have them come through your door. So, your local SEO is very important, because if I’m looking for a specific type of doctor in say Springfield, Illinois, and I put say an ortho-physician in Springfield, Illinois, and your local SEO is up and your Google maps and you’re up at the top of that map. Guess what? I think it’s in the 70 to 80 percentile. No, if that’s not right, it is in the 90 percentile that will contact and visit that business within 24 hours of seeing them on the map.
Rich: So, same kind of question is asked, the strategies between organic and paid. Is the strategy the same with local, or is that its own beast?
Buzz: Local is its own beast, because there is a social media aspect that Google has created with Google maps. So you have in your Google My Business page, this is a free website on Google that any business with a physical address is verifiable by mail, no PO boxes, no virtual addresses, none of that stuff can work. You’ll get blackmailed, or blackballed I should say, if you get caught doing that. But it’s a listing and it comes with this little website we call our Google My Business page. In it you’re going to have pictures, you can have your store hours, you’re going to have your director, your address. You’re going to have the types of services that you have.
And they have this really cool thing called Google posts. Google posts is just like on social media, but it’s in Google. They’re only good for seven days and then they disappear. Which means that you can share on a constant basis current and relevant information about what’s going on with your business. And those who play that game are going to be in the top 2 percentile. Because very, very few people take advantage of all of the power that posts have. Because you can share information, you can have specials, you can list specials on those that have times. So, there are times that they drop off at a certain time, you can have events and have people actually sign up through your Google My Business with links and whatnot, all that stuff. So you have people actually utilizing the Google My Business page as a supplement to their actual website. So it gets them in and says, okay, there’s all these things. And it’s like yeah, maybe we should go and check them out. And boom, they go to the website and the rest of the customer journey is there. If they don’t just click the call right from that Google My Business.
Rich: All right. Now I want to kind of circle back around to our original topic, which was really about when do you run Google ads and when do you hold off? And you know, you’ve said that maybe start with SEO. Well, make sure that everything’s in place, but SEO is going to take longer to get going and paid search you might not be ready for it. So I’m curious to know, have you found that information that you’re sharing with us, is it industry specific? And I’m thinking like B2B versus B2C, or selling products versus selling services, is it all the same or is it different because of the type of business we’re in?
Buzz: I would say that it is different industry to industry. And really more so type of industries. So your service based industries are going to generally follow the same constructs versus a products. I would say if you have a product out there, and it’s a product that is like everybody else’s product, so maybe you have a commoditized product – the bigger, the better, the faster, you know, all that good stuff there – then ads are actually going to be your friend right up front, because you’re going to be able to play that game much faster than SEO. So, you’re going to want to run concurrently so that as you’re winning the paid battle, you start getting that swell of the organic as well.
Where in service-based businesses, if you don’t have any SEO, you’ll definitely want to start the SEO. But at the same time, get that those Google ads running when you’re ready for that traffic to come in. And then what I see some of my service-based businesses will do is as, as the swell of traffic from the organic comes up, we can start bringing down the ads because we start earning traffic versus paying for traffic. And that lasts a lot longer, too. So those efforts pay forward many years into the future as you’re around longer and longer. So it’s kind of this back and forth and using both of them to leverage wherever you might be in your company’s journey.
Rich: We talked a little bit earlier about how you have to be ready to handle that business that comes in. And this is something that we’ve run into in the past where suddenly sales is overwhelmed with calls, sometimes are all legitimate, sometimes it’s a mixture of legitimate, maybe they weren’t all the best most qualified leads. What do you do when you find you’re getting too many leads at once and your team is telling you that they’re overwhelmed and it’s taking up too much of your time? Do you just shut the ads off? Do you tamp them down? Is it a little bit more nuanced, like an equalizer where some things go up and some things go down?
Buzz: Yeah. So you’re going to start looking at, you had kind of two things in that question there. One is, what’s your ratio of qualified versus unqualified potential clients coming in. So if I’m hearing that there are unqualified calls in, I’m asking more questions of what made them call you and what keywords were attracting them. So there’s a lot of times where ‘free’ is a bad word in Google ads, because maybe you’re a consultant and you don’t have free consultations to get to know somebody. There are other types of words in each of the industries that are bad for particular business, because they’re like, we just don’t do it or we want to stay away from it as much as possible.
So, getting negative keywords into your ad campaign can reduce the amount of calls or the amount of unqualified calls that you’re getting, so that you’re taking less with qualified. So they’re more valuable per call. So that’s the first thing I would do before I stop spending. And you don’t just turn it off, because then you have to get that momentum going and the algorithm has got to relearn everything, all that good stuff. It’s not just an immediate switch every time, because your competition is always moving. So I always say, taper it down. Are you getting 10% too many calls? Are you getting 20% too many calls? Well then cut it by 10%, 20%, 30% and feel that for a few days. Have the calls gone down to a point where you feel good right now? Yes. Leave it here until you can take more, then bring it back up.
If you have your conversion rates, from your Google ads to your website, dialed into where you know I spend a hundred dollars for every hundred dollars, I get extra call X amount of calls, you can start predicting and dictating how much business you want in the next week.
Rich: All right. When you have clients talking to you about understood, excuse me, when you have clients talking to you about understanding where their best traffic is coming from when they do have the ads running, when they do have SEO running. How do you recommend that they determine the ROI of both?
Buzz: That’s a great question. Number one, you can track through Google analytics and Google ads where all of your traffic is coming from. But be it social media, referrals from other websites and back links, SEO straight from organic, because the Google analytics tells you exactly, hey, this was organic traffic versus paid traffic versus social traffic versus other versus referral, and the referrals which websites were referring you the most…
So, making sure that your Google analytics and your Google console are plugged in and you are tracking your conversions properly, so that you can just run one report or look at one dashboard and say ‘that’s where my traffic is coming from’, is going to allow you to do better marketing planning for your next period, or understand where your ROI is coming from.
Rich: So, when you’re doing Google ads for products, e-commerce, it’s really easy to know that this particular ad with this UTM code ended up making the sale for this much money. That’s pretty clear. Google actually can handle that and tell you exactly what needs to happen or what did happen.
But the other side of the coin is service-based industries. So, we get these leads in, and they take a time to develop, and there’s something that’s lost in terms of the tracking. So, what do you tell your clients who do want to track the ROI of Google ads for service-based things where there’s a human interruption somewhere along that chain? What are they doing? Because this does not happen in Google, so Google’s not tracking this. What do you recommend they do there?
Buzz: That’s when it becomes part of, if you have a CRM that you’re utilizing, customer relations management to where you’re tracking your calls after the digital experience, if you will. So, they’ve reached out to you either by a contact form or they made a phone call, and if you’re tracking those in a CRM, you can actually continue that journey with that lead coming through. And the easiest thing to do is take a look at new clients in a certain period versus conversions coming from the website. Because what you can see from there is as you’re tracking your inbound traffic, you’re like, okay, X amount of those came from my website, and we know that we had this many conversions on those websites. And we had this many X amount of new clients coming in. So now we understand our close ratio. If you understand your close ratio it, then you can just backtrack and go, hey, on average four out of five people sign up for services when they call in, whatever your close rate is.
If I have X amount of conversions coming from my website, then I know that I should see this much business. And you can double check your close rate once a month, once a quarter, wherever you feel that you’re like, hey, we’re seeing this many conversions, but we’re not feeling that many of the sales. There’s two things. Either close rate went down, or the value of each client has gone down. So maybe you’re not attracting as nice of a client or as qualified as a client as you were the period before or the year before.
Rich: All right. What do you see as still some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they’re trying to balance local, versus organic, versus paid?
Buzz: There’s two problems I see one. One, they don’t do all of it. It’s an ecosystem. Google did that for a reason because different people used their search engine differently. And so when you only take advantage of one of those parts of the website, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table for your competition.
Organic does not cost as much as ads, and organic is traffic that you earn in perpetuity as long as you’re continuing to do it. So, I say that in that you can do a little bit of work here and then it compounds. But the only way to get more ad visibility is to spend more money. So I can continue to do the same amount of work, and that work just keeps compounding and I’m getting more traffic from the same amount. And then if I let go of that work for a little bit, it will coast and eventually it’ll die off. But it’ll coast so it will continue to pay dividends. We’re in pain.
You’ve turned it off. It’s done. Okay. So that’s the first, well, the first problem there, the second is when you’re doing paid. Test. So many people dive in and they’re like, here’s four grand a month, $5,000 a month. And we’re going to put it all in the ads. And here are the keywords that are going to make us the most money…, and they don’t test their coy, they don’t test what the ad actually says. There is an advertisement on that, just because it says ‘chiropractor’, ‘local,’ ‘best’, ‘newest’, ‘fastest’, whatever that is, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will convert. It’s not going to get a click through. So you need to test those and create micro tests of those keywords to find out what type of keywords and what wording works and use those in micro testing. And then as you see winners, start scaling the winners so that you’re not wasting time, energy, and money on bad ads.
Rich: So, we’ve talked a lot about all three of those sections. And when people think about paid, they always think about the ads that appear at the top of the page. There are sometimes ads that show up in the local pack, however. Is there any control we as mere mortals have on whether our ads show up in the local pack, where we may prefer them, versus the top of the page or vice versa?
Buzz: So I am not a technician, but as far as I know… this is a good question for one of my techs. I thought that your Google local ads were local ads. So you actually define those from the onslaught, so you don’t end up in the local pack when you’re trying to get on the top side of that.
Rich: All right. Awesome. This has been very helpful, Buzz. I really appreciate it. And just for anybody who wants to learn more, work with you, what have you, where can we send them online?
Buzz: You can go to buzzworthy.biz, that’s B U Z Z W O R T H Y.biz. You’ll see everything we do there. You can also grab a copy of my book, The Rule of 26, which basically creates a three-step strategy doubling your website revenue. And we actually wrote this book, I wrote this book I should say, specifically for service-based businesses.
Rich: Awesome. This has been great, Michael. I really appreciate your time today and all that you’ve shared with us. And thanks so much for stopping by.
Buzz: Thank you so much for having me, Rich.
Michael “Buzz” Buzinski has developed profitable marketing methodologies that allow his customers to double the profits of their marketing efforts. Check out his new book to find out how to double your website revenue in 3 steps!
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.